Perfect UX Not Required


Toodyay Show 2007

We all know the goal of any web site is to make the user experience as informative and pleasant as possible. Reduce the frustration factor and all that, close the sale, win the customer.

Well seems Donna Spencer has found a few car sites that are the exception to the rule, particularly the Peugeot site.  In short the sites alienate, and hard to navigate without previous product experience.

Now at first I was under the impression that maybe this site was basically put together by an inexperienced marketing agency that has no idea on how to approach the web at all.

However on reflection maybe we are looking at something a little more subtle.

Consider that maybe we are looking at an attempt to build an air of eliteness. A special club -“you are the owner of a Peugeot, you are in the know, you have the speical knowledge that others don’t”. It’s as if there is a statement like:

If you able to understand the Peugeot web site then you are on your way to understanding what it takes to own and drive a Peugeot.

On another level, web sites are a bane of sales personnel on the floor of a car dealership. Personal experience  speaks volumes here.  The customer comes in after researching all the cars and can easily make an informed logical decision. To be honest this is not what they want. They want an emotion, lust, need for the car. A decision not based on logic, they want you ill informed.

So make the site a little elitist, make it appeal to the repeat customer only. For the new Peugeot buyer, have enough to entice them into the dealership and that’s all. The staff on the floor can do the rest with the ill informed customer.

This begs the question, are there times when you don’t want a perfect user experience and you want to redirect the customer into traditional marketing channels.  Maybe we need to break the UX rules every now and again.   Regardless the Peugeot site is a shocker.

What do you think, do we need to break the UX rules sometimes?

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  1. I’m not sure I agree with you when it comes to Peugeot. It’s more down to arrogance than anything else. It’s something you see across many of the car manufacturers websites. In fact, you see it with manufacturers of many products. If they have to explain what each product is, it’s almost as if they are admitting that the marketing team has done a bad job. I think there’s also a clear lack of external usability testing across these sites. For a good example, see the VW UK site.

    Personally, I think there are better ways of creating a feeling of exclusivity without alienating new customers. Take a look at Apple, for example. Surely the masters at doing just that.

  2. I think there are plenty of times when traditional-thinking businesses would like to drive people into the channels where they are most experienced in making the sale. Any business that has built up many years of perfecting the art of selling wants to retain that. Businesses like Tupperware that specialised in party-plan selling still only provide enough on their website to know they exist – you absolutely have to talk to a person to buy something…

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